The Really Big Announcement

…and, we’ve known about this for weeks, and even hinted about it once or twice, but it’s apparently now official.

OMW hears that Cleveland sports media personality Tony Rizzo announced on his “Really Big Show” on Good Karma sports WKNR/850 “ESPN 850” that he’ll stop burning the sports candle at both ends.

And no, he’s not giving up radio.

Rizzo will exit his TV job at Local TV Fox affiliate WJW/8 “Fox 8” at the end of his contract, which ends later this year. An OMW reader tells us he made the announcement Wednesday during his radio show. (We missed it, and can’t yet find the podcast audio of the segment in question.)

Why leave TV and stay with radio?

We don’t know exactly what happened with Rizzo’s contract with Fox 8. We’re told that Rizzo said he was leaving the TV side of his career to spend more time with his family, and that he was exercising an “early out” in his WJW deal.

But, it’s not a surprise to anyone who reads this blog that local TV stations are trying to pare down salaries by not renewing expensive talent contracts. The same scenario has already played out at other stations in the market…either the station decides not to renew, or won’t renew at or above the cost of the personality’s current deal.

We do hear that Rizzo plans to take an ownership interest in what will soon be his only media home, WKNR. (We don’t know if Rizzo will specifically invest in the Cleveland operation, or overall in owner Craig Karmazin’s Good Karma Broadcasting empire.)

We also hear that Rizzo hasn’t been happy with how “Fox 8” has handled sports coverage recently. In general in local TV, sports segments have been “getting the squeeze” in an age where sports scores and highlights are available 24/7 via the Internet and various sports TV networks.

We’ve been hinting at this one for weeks, even noting that WJW has advertised for a new sports anchor…and we hear Rizzo announced his intentions to co-workers at South Marginal at about the time the advertisement appeared…

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5 Responses to The Really Big Announcement

  1. SpartanAx says:

    I was hoping he was leaving WKNR to go to Digital Sports Network and leave those two IDIOTS GoldWimp and Fedor behind.

  2. Fletch F. Fletch says:

    I don’t know how surprising it is that Rizzo is leaving FOX8 but the reason why certainly isn’t. Not only are sports scores available on the internet 24/7 but the diehard sports fans are watching SportsCenter anyway. The only way for a sports segment on the local news to come close to competing with that is to be local, local, local. But the diehard sports fans… they have been lost to ESPN and they’re not coming back. And maybe someone can correct me but didn’t one of the Toledo TV stations drop the sports segment from the weekday newscasts and just cover sports on the weekends?

    • victor malar says:

      After poking around their web sites, all 4 Toledo newsrooms…

      WTOL-11 (CBS)
      WTVG-13 (ABC)
      WNWO-24 (NBC)
      WUPW-36 (FOX)

      …have weeknight sportscasts.

      Remember, Toledo covers Detroit pro sports, Cleveland pro sports, OSU, Michigan, Univ. of Toledo, and Bowling Green U., so there’s lots to cover.

  3. Fletch F. Fletch says:

    It was the FOX affiliate. I guess they brought back the sports segment because it was dropped at one time: http://www.toledofreepress.com/2008/12/18/changing-media-landscape-causing-problems-new-opportunities-in-toledo-and-nationwide

    I knew I wasn’t making that up!!!

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